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From Dominique Devienne <>
Subject RE: Ant: pros and cons!
Date Tue, 20 Jul 2004 13:37:41 GMT
> From: Nicolas Mailhot []
> On mar, 2004-07-20 at 09:56 +0200, Johan Vromans CPWR wrote:
> > The current situation is that we have the worst of all: it's not a
> > programming language, it's not a scripting language, it's not even
> > XML anymore.
> The way dependency lists are put inside a text array in an attribute
> never was XML-ish (better use several depend children). Or the use of
> flat-text property files (though pure XML is gaining ground).
> Anyway, a lot of the shortfalls of ant syntax disappear when you couple
> it to some xslt processing, but then you get bitten by the parts that
> look like XML but aren't really (which can be workarounded without too
> much effort, but is a PITA nevertheless).

If some of you guys out there are hung on the XML syntax (which I personally
don't have a problem with), nothing ever prevents you from introducing a new
ProjectHelper instead of the default XML-based one. As someone (Jan or
Matt?) recently wrote on this (dev?) list, if you guys find a flaw in the
logic that allows to implement custom ProjectHelpers, the Ant team is
committed to fix it to make ProjectHelper useful and implement-able. This is
different than endorsing these alternative syntaxes, but good enough, no?

As far as the critique about Ant using non-XMLish constructs like the
depends attribute of targets (true enough), again, nothing prevents a group
to define a more XML-friendly 'Canonical Ant' schema with an XSL to go in
either directions. This would also work for non-XML syntax, which could
transform their own grammars into this canonical Ant XML. RelaxNG showed
it's possible with the XML and compact syntax. I'll just note that the .rnc
syntax is great for simple schemas, but that it quickly gets worse than the
XML (IMHO) to support more RNG features. The good thing is that is has the
two syntaxes, so that ends the debate ;-)

In short, some people have the itch to introduce an alternate non-XML syntax
to Ant. Are you going to do anything about it? --DD

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